Man Chair Love

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 14, 2015 @ 04: 48 PM
"Can you do anything with this?" The older gentleman slid a photo of a tattered plaid chair across the counter at me. "Well," I said hesitantly, hoping not to hurt his feelings, "that might be difficult for us to sell..."
"Sell it?" he growled. "I don't want you to sell it! I want you to fix it!"
Turns out, this chair has been his throne for almost four decades. The pitch of its recline was perfect. Its cushions supported his neck and back properly. And, best of all, his plaid chair had some powerful sports mojo.
From that throne, he'd watched quarterback Doug Flutie throw the infamous Hail Mary pass in 1984. He'd witnessed Larry Bird steal the ball in 1987 to win the game for the Boston Celtics.  He'd seen the Red Sox reverse the Curse in 2004, the Bruins hoist the Cup in 2011. Now, he's asking me to fix that chair so he can watch Brady continue his Revenge Tour into 2016.
Upholstering a chair is expensive, I explained. I took him on a tour of the showroom, hoping he would find a replacement. 
Little did he know, I've been looking for the perfect chair, too. I prowl the showrooms regularly, sitting in every one on the floor searching for a throne made just for me. One with a flat - not rolled - arm so I can rest a cold bourbon on it in the evening. One that soothes my sciatica. I've been looking for years. I have my eye on the American Leather swivel recliner. I gently steered him away from it because that might be the one for me.
Regardless, my customer, the older gentleman, decided he didn't have the time for that kind of odyssey. He opted to reupholster his faithful furniture companion. After all, he figured, it's a small price to pay for a chair that brings good fortune to his favorite teams.
"You can pick it up after this Sunday, but I want it back before the Denver game," he barked. 

Topics: consignment, Furniture, reupholstery

Learning to Leverage Assets

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, November 07, 2015 @ 12: 15 PM
What's the scariest time of year? Hint: it's not Halloween. The scariest time of year is the week after Halloween. That's when we rob our kids of the candy they've stashed under their beds. Secretly snacking on their Skittles, we gain ten pounds just in time for all the holiday parties.
Candy is potent stuff.
Consider the black market that sprang up in our neighbors basement after our boys and their friends went trick-or-treating. The ringleader was our youngest, seven-year-old Robbie. Typical teenagers, those boys are eating machines, the sharks of the human eco-system. Robbie sensed an opportunity in that hungry subterranean mob.
Standing on a podium like a seasoned auctioneer, he held in one hand a tasty morsel pulled from his sack of candy. "Delicious and nutritious," he said in a loud and serious voice, "a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to the guy who can tell me the best swear word. Going once, going twice ..."
When you're seven, a good swear word is a pretty valuable item on the playground. They're hard to come by on these polite suburban streets. And Robbie figured this was a crowd of swearing virtuosos.
He had plenty of bargaining power. The Kit-Kat bar was sure to win a real zinger of a swear. Not so much the apple, which came from some earnest vegan neighbor, or the toothbrush from the dentist down the street. (Their houses are on the blacklist for next year's trick-or-treating.) But the sticky, crunchy, tooth-rotting Snickers? An ace, for sure.         
The older kids sensing that this could mean trouble for them shut down the bidding quickly and gave the adults a heads-up.  Innocence was preserved. Robbie didn't get anything stronger than a "damn." But I gotta give it to that kid. He knows how to capitalize on his assets. If we can hone those bargaining skills for good use in enterprise and not for vocabulary resources, he'll do well in business someday.
Speaking of assets, we have some terrific items in our three showrooms this weekend, just in time for the holidays. You want to miss the B&B Italia sectional that was a designer error. The designer's price on that was $13,000, but you can have it for $3,899. You can also save thousands of dollars on the Ethan Allen Abbott table and ten Chauncy chairs in mint condition. Together the set is $3,999 and sells for double the price in the current Ethan Allen catalog.  
At FCG Bargains reign. Even kids like Robbie would see this opportunity and would suggest taking inventory of your resources so that you can acquire some assets. 


Topics: fun, boston, Furniture, boston consignment, assets, halloween

How-To: Re-purpose Your Dining Room Into A -- Dining Room

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, November 03, 2015 @ 12: 07 PM

"Which one?" Diana asked me. She had a fork in each hand, one from the everyday set and one from the special-occasion set. We were planning a meal to celebrate our oldest son taking a step towards manhood, making the sacrament of Confirmation. At first, we'd thought about a buffet, but Diana had changed her mind. "It's a special day," she said. "I'd like the whole family sitting around the dining table."

How many of us use our formal dining room anymore? Not many and not often.
Everyone seems to eat meals at the kitchen island now or, even worse, in the car, a reflection of the frenetic pace of our lives. In homes where space is tight, the dining room has been repurposed into a toy room, a crafts room or a home office.
Call me old-fashioned, but I'm in favor of dining rooms. Who doesn't cherish the memory of visiting grandparents on Sundays, when everyone squeezed around the table to eat and talk all afternoon? Meals aren't just about food. They're about celebrating life's milestones, sharing family history and honoring victories large and small.
Here's my modest proposal for reviving the dining room-
1. Is there a baby in the house? Put that high chair at the head of the table. Or, better yet, pass that baby around during the meal. It's a great way to celebrate a special time that vanishes all too soon.

2. Before eating, take a moment to appreciate your family, your friends, your health. Say a prayer. Raise your glass in a toast. Or just pause to reflect about the good things in life.
3. Teach your kids manners. Our boys shovel food down their gullets wordlessly, the only noise a snort or gobble. Okay, teenagers are a challenge. But in the dining room we impose rules: no baseball caps, no slouching, no using shirtsleeves as napkins. Someday, that kid will be on a date, at a job interview, or meeting the in-laws. Everyone needs basic training.
4. Use the good china and the wedding crystal. Decorate the table. Your family and guests will feel special.
Don't have a dining room set? Furniture Consignment Gallery has them in every style. Chestnut Hill has sets by Alfonso Marina for Ebanista and Restall, Brown & Clennell of England. Hanover, has a beautiful Karges inlaid mahogany table with satin border and four leaves for $5,849. Plymouth's showroom boasts a Nichols & Stone cherry table with six chairs for $999.
Polish those forks. The holidays are coming. 

Topics: dining room

A Comfortable Situation

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, October 27, 2015 @ 11: 00 AM
img_2568copyYou gotta know where to draw the line.
Consider the current trend of "co-sleeping." That means letting kids sleep with mom and dad at night. Harmless? Maybe when baby is the size of a peanut. But then it gets to be a habit.  Just try getting some shut-eye with an eight-year-old who thrashes around all night like an eggbeater.
Well, that wasn't going to happen in my house. Our three boys had their beds. Diana and I had ours. Same with the dog.  Bark all you want, Roxie. You're not sharing my bed.
I had the situation under control - until about a year ago. Then, Furniture Consignment Gallery started selling new mattresses as a service to our customers who were buying bedroom sets. We chose Gold Bond, a brand that offered excellent quality for a reasonable price. 
Impressed with the feedback from happy customers, Diana and I figured it was time to dump our old mattress. We invested in a pillow-top called the Westminster, which sounds regal, palatial and luxurious. And, yes, it was all that and more. I loved that mattress. I never slept better.
That was the start of the Pillow-top Wars. I'd come home from work to find all three boys huddled together watching television - on my Westminster! I'd have to chase them out so I could flop down on my own bed for a few minutes.
Next, I started finding stowaways at bedtime. Seven-year-old Robbie would sneak in and fall asleep. While I was dragging him to his room, Roxie, the dog, would take his place then snarl at me for disturbing her delicious dog coma.
After hauling her downstairs, I'd find Collin, soon-to-be 13, under the covers. As I led him by his ear to his bed, I'd hear someone making a dash for it. Even Cade, our fifteen-year-old, couldn't resist the siren call of the Westminster. He's no peanut, either: 215 pounds. Size 13 feet.
My nights are exhausting now. But I'm determined to defend my right to the Gold Bond Westminster. I bought it - I'm not going to share it. Get a job, kiddo. Buy your own.

Welcome Return to Quality

Posted by Jay Frucci on Tue, October 27, 2015 @ 10: 35 AM
img_4940Our Hanover showroom boasts a trove of treasure this week: 49 pieces of new furniture made by master craftsmen right here in our hometown. Their artistry is extraordinary. Every piece of hardwood has been meticulously matched for figure and grain. Every surface has been planed by hand, every dovetail cut by hand, every decorative element carved by hand.
Finally, each piece was signed by the artisan who made it, a personal pledge of pride in meticulous craftsmanship.
I thought a lot about the quality of those pieces this week. I was making my first pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina, the furniture capital of the world. Diana and I were there to buy accessories such as lamps and art for our three showrooms. Diana was also picking out fabric for a new line of chairs we plan to offer in our store in Chestnut Hill.   img_4880
To the uninitiated, High Point can be overwhelming: 10 million square feet of items for the home from frou-frou pillows to bedroom suites, oil paintings to faux plants, chandeliers to candlesticks, tassels to teapots.Over three days, I wore out the leather soles of my shoes trying to see everything.
What struck me hard was the questionable quality of the furniture. Much of it is mass-produced in pieces overseas now, shipped to our shores and assembled here in the U.S. Like those towns that once pocked the Wild West, featuring slapdash stores with fake facades, High Point seemed to me to be oversized and overpriced. In other words, it was all show, no substance.  
What a relief to come home to quality.

Topics: High Point, consignment, Furniture

Come Meet Our Amazing Staff!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, October 10, 2015 @ 03: 56 PM
On a whim, while visiting Boston, she'd stopped at our showroom and fallen in love with a mirror. She'd spent a year renovating and redecorating a home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and this mirror would be the final jewel in her masterpiece. She bought it, delighted to have found such a treasure, only to come to a crushing realization a few minutes later. The mirror wouldn't fit in her car.
Ron, manager of our store in Hanover and a nine-year veteran of FCG, has a deep compassion for this kind of drama, which is a decorator's version of 'the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.' So, also on a whim, Ron offered to deliver the mirror to her home on his day off. Himself. 108 miles, each way.
I was dumbfounded when I discovered what he'd done for that customer. In a tone that was half-guilty and half-defensive, he waved away my objections. "I've always wantesnowfurnitured to see Kennebunkport," he said as if a five-hour spin was a typical outing for anyone. "What a pretty town! Her House was beautiful!"
In reflecting on the ten-year anniversary of our acquisition of Furniture Consignment Gallery, I realize that our success is in large part because our employees care so much about our customers. They are always willing to go the extra mile - or hundred miles. Brian, assistant manager of Hanover, once delivered a pair of lamps to someone's home on his way home then stayed for an extra hour or two to help the hapless customer rearrange the furniture.
We value our employees not only for their willingness to provide extraordinary customer service but also IMG_6013bsmfor their loyalty to FCG. Our most recent hires have been with us for almost a year: Brian, Julia, Lisa, Josh and Mike. Brad, manager of our showroom in Plymouth, joined us about three years ago to launch that store and Drew, Tevin and Nick have been with us since the opening. Bryan and Diane joined us about a year ago. Donna was in Plymouth before being promoted to manage our showroom in Chestnut Hill and Meredith has been a part timer in Chestnut Hill for nearly five years! Gloria, our bookkeeper, has been our Guardian Angel in accounting for all Ten Years!!
Our delivery crew includes six-year veteran Matt, four-year vet Rob, two-year vet Dana, and Matt, the newcomer, who joined us eight months ago. They are, to a man, the most careful, pleasant and competent delivery team you will ever encounter. Christa, our marketing manager, photographs our furniture in Hanover and is responsible for our website. She's been with FCG for four years.
This weekend, we will wrap up our ten-year anniversary celebration. Our 10%-off sale goes through Monday. Please join us Saturday for treats and refreshments. Each of our three showrooms is hosting an open house between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Come meet our staff, the heart and soul of FCG.



Topics: consigment, employee, boston, Used Furniture, MA, Furniture, Hanover, anniversary

Our Policy on Policies

Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, September 21, 2015 @ 04: 01 PM
holdit-sign"We need a policy!" Ron, veteran manager of our store in Hanover, said firmly, looking directly at me. "Enough is enough."
Policy. That word fills me with dread. Ten years ago, Diana and I made the leap from Corporate America into our own small business in part to escape the rigid policies that big companies inflict on employees and customers. We believe policies hamper creativity and initiative. At FCG, we hire smart people and we trust them to make good decisions on behalf of the customer and the company.
Still, Ron had a point. He was frustrated with all the confusion - and, at times, disappointment - created when one of our customers puts a piece of furniture on "hold."
At FCG, we allow our customers to put a "hold" on a piece of furniture until they can make a reasoned decision as to whether the piece is right for their home. We'll honor that hold - that is, we won't sell that piece - generally for 24 hours.
However, there's a catch. If another buyer comes into the showroom and expresses an interest in buying the piece, we'll call the person who put it on hold. At that time, on the phone, they have to make a decision to buy or not to buy.  We make every reasonable effort to reach the first buyer, but if we can't, we will sell the piece to the person in front of us.
That's only fair to our consignors who have entrusted us to sell their items quickly and at the highest possible price.
I don't like holds. They cause confusion. Some buyers think a hold will last for a week - or a month. Others are upset getting a phone call that will require they make an instant decision. We don't like disappointing anyone.  
Still, for our business, holds are a necessity. Some buyers spot a piece of furniture online and are willing to drive an hour or more to check it out. Sometimes, they'll call us as they are pulling out of the driveway to ask us to put the piece on hold. Or wife may want her husband to see the piece after work before they buy it. We think it's only fair to give our buyers that time, if possible.
I understand the frustration our salespeople and managers encounter explaining and enforcing a hold. But I still don't want to put in place some legalistic policy, one that would have a hold expire precisely at the stroke of midnight. I want to empower our employees to use common sense and do what's right for the buyer, the seller and the business.
So we're not going to join the cable company, the utility and the rest of Corporate America. We're not going to put a lot of policies between us and you. In fact, to us it is a point of pride: FCG has a non-policy policy. 

Topics: consignment, MA, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, consignment policy

Go To School

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, September 05, 2015 @ 12: 00 PM
We sprang out of bed even before the alarm. Diana raced to the kitchen, started the coffee and tossed the cereal bowls onto the table. Upstairs, I slathered my face with shaving cream while singing a tune. I nicked myself a couple of times, but, still, I knew it was going to be a great day.
I was full of adrenaline, as excited as I'd been for my first day of college, my first job interview, the day we acquired Furniture Consignment Gallery. go to school cake
I didn't need any coffee, but what the heck, we were ready to live dangerously. Diana grinned as she slid a hot cup of java across the table to me. Our eyes locked in a conspiratorial gaze.
"We need to focus -" she said.  "We can't screw this up," I blurted out at the same time.
 "Those kids are going back to school," we agreed. "Today!" We exchanged a high five for good luck.
Moments later, the boys straggled into the kitchen. Soon, the French toast was flying from griddle to plate. Sure, there was some whining, a few mild curses mumbled under the breath, and the occasional hostile stare from the offspring.  But in record time, the boys were fed and out the door. They looked like a trio of turtles trudging down the driveway with their bulging backpacks strapped to their backs.  
Son #1 was on the bus at 6:55 a.m. Son #2 left at 7:05, and #3 at 7:25.
"See you later!" I sang, waving goodbye as the last bus rumbled down the road. Then, I broke into an impromptu and utterly joyful "moon walk" back to the house.
With three boys ages 7 to 15, summer had seemed to last forever. I'd had three long months of repeating myself, louder and louder, to break through the sound barrier of their headphones.  (Favorite phrase of the oldest, repeated endlessly: "Huh?")
Then there were all those last-minute excursions with friends. "Dad, we're going to the golfing range... the ice cream shop ... the pool ... the mall." That was followed by "Can you drive? Can you drive? Can you drive?"
When I wasn't a chauffeur, I felt like the clean-up crew trailing after a three-ring circus. I spent the summer turning off lights in empty rooms, flushing unflushed toilets, emptying full bins of trash and clearing a path through the sports gear into the house. I was ready for this moment.
Diana gave the boys a sneak peek at their afternoon snack as they walked out the door. She'd baked them a cake. On it, in fresh frosting, she'd written the words GO TO SCHOOL.
Freedom! It's wonderful. If the school nurse calls, I'm not answering.

Topics: family, consignment, school, boston, MA, chestnut hill, newton, Furniture Consignment, Hanover, plymouth Furniture, plymouth,, children, kids, school bus, back to school, boston consignment

When Haggling Bury The Hatchet

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 29, 2015 @ 10: 55 AM
Get out," I said firmly. "And don't ever come back."
I was shocked - and so was he. In ten years of business, I have never once kicked a customer out of the store. Until now. And, yes, this guy more than deserved it.
What happened?
He approached me at the store one day last week with a question about a "crappy piece of furniture that's seen better days." Actually, the piece was an antique pine cabinet full of vintage charm. Gesturing at it with contempt, he launched into a litany of its imperfections. The doors didn't line up correctly. The lock was sticky. The glue on the dovetail drawers had loosened.
"Your price," he said, raising his voice, "is crazy." 63523_hatchet_lg
At this point, I must admit, the guy was starting to irritate me. The imperfections, I told him, are partly by design and partly the result of age, neither of which should be fixed or repaired. Apparently angered by my response, he began insulting me, my business and my integrity.
Now, in our business, we see a lot of folks who want to haggle a bit for a better price. In some cases, certain pieces have lingered on the showroom floor too long, and we may discount the price for a buyer eager to take the item home. In other situations, we will demur, knowing that a piece will sell quickly as priced.  
Our goal is to keep all our customers happy. Our consignors want us to sell their items for the highest price. Our buyers, on the other hand, are looking for a bargain on quality furniture. We walk the knife's edge every day trying to please both.   
At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we welcome all customers, including the bargain-hunters. If you think there's room to haggle on an item, make us an offer. We'll do our best to help you buy the piece you love at a price you can afford.
But try to remember: negotiating is an art best done with a butter knife instead of a hatchet.

Topics: haggle, consignment, boston, MA, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, bury the hatchet

Neighborly Agenda

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, August 22, 2015 @ 12: 43 PM
neighborMoments after the moving van pulled out of the driveway of his new waterfront home earlier this summer, she appeared at the front door. Tiny, silver-haired and roly-poly, she thrust out a tray of mouth-watering, freshly-made cannolis dusted with sugar. He had to stop himself from snatching one off the plate, he confessed later.
"I comma to say hello," she said in an accent as thick as the day, seventy years ago, that she left the Old Country.  "What you eat today? Burger? That's-a no good. I've got meatballs at home. And I wanna you to cut down-a the trees so we can see-a the ocean."
An Italian grandma is a force of nature, irresistible and unstoppable. He cut down the trees that week and earned a seat at the family table for dinners on Sunday. He's gained a few pounds this summer much to the delight of his neighborhood nonna.  
Now, Italian Grandma has decided it's time for him to furnish his new home properly. Out went the shabby recliner, the card-table in the dining room and the old mattress on the floor of the master bedroom.
Then, she sent him to us at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Nonna, apparently, knows quality.  And she knows a bargain when she sees it. 
In a whirlwind hour, he found a sectional, a leather chair and a dining room set. (We've got three amazing sets on the showroom floor priced below $1,000.) As he was paying the bill, he was talking about inviting nonna and her husband over to watch a game so he could show off his shopping prowess.
"I wonder what she'd bake?" he mused aloud.
I felt a pang of jealousy - and I could almost taste the cannoli. "Anybody selling on your street?" I asked.

Topics: sale, consigment, grandmother, neighbors, consignment, MA, chestnut hill, Furniture Consignment, Furniture, Hanover, plymouth, gallery, moving, neighborhood, salesman, brand names, italian, neighbor, busy, desirable, canoli